Most of us have already begun making our shopping lists and travel plans for the upcoming holiday season, as we look forward to celebrations with friends and family and to the traditions that bring warmth and meaning to this time of year.

This year, I’d like to encourage you to add another tradition to your family’s list: giving to the holiday food and toy drives Redwood Credit Union has hosted at our branches in the North Bay and San Francisco for over 20 years.

Holiday giving campaigns like these provide so much more than a single feel-good moment in an otherwise hectic season. With so many of our neighbors living paycheck to paycheck, any help we can give during this season can make all the difference.

By giving back, we have an opportunity to change lives for the better. We can assist those looking for work or still recovering from unemployment in getting back on their feet. We can keep parents who are working hard to make ends meet from having to choose between dinner for themselves or Christmas presents for their kids. Seniors can get through the long winter months with health and dignity.

We can also show our support for local nonprofits, already stretched thin in these difficult times, who depend on these donations each year to be able to meet the needs of those struggling with food, housing or job insecurity. Over the past 2 years, with your help, we were able to collect over 2,600 pounds of food and nearly 3,000 toys for our partner charitable organizations. Let’s show our thanks now for the work these nonprofits do year-round to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

Brett Martinez is the president and CEO of Redwood Credit Union.